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Songs To Play On Your Birthday

Birthdays should be the grandest time of the year. It’s an annual event where you get to celebrate “you” and your amazing personality. However you want to spend it, it’s all up to you. Be it with a group of friends or family members – you can even make it a solo Birthday event ’cause there’s absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself to the best “me time” if you live in a busy world and getting together with others is not possible – your day is bound to be extraordinary and full of delicious treats and music to bring you joy.

With today being my Birthday – July 18th – I’m more than happy to share a list of songs that I’m sure would make your Birthday delightful. Like Cold Stone’s Birthday Mix ice cream, what you’ll find below is a blend of lively, future-inspired, optimistic and relaxing tunes with a couple song suggestions thrown in by my friends via Instagram stories. Feel free to comment with your own Birthday playlist. 

“Treat Yourself” ~ Meghan Trainor

“Weird People” ~ Little Mix

“Happy Birthday” ~ Stevie Wonder

“Another Day of Sun” ~ from La La Land

“Birthday” ~ Katy Perry (suggested by Lauren)

“Something Beautiful” ~ Robbie Williams

“Domino” ~ Jessie J

“Have Fun Go Mad” ~ Blair

“Twistin’ the Night Away” ~ Sam Cooke

“Waterloo” ~ ABBA

“Shake It Off” ~ Taylor Swift

“Habits (Stay High)” ~ Tove Lo (suggested by Lydia)

“Rivers Deep” ~ Gabby Barrett

“Birthday” ~ Pixie Lott

“Senorita” ~ Justin Timberlake

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” ~ Randy Newman

“Nobody But Me” ~ Michael Buble

“Good Time” ~ Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen

Photo Credit: Little Mix 

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“American Idol” 2019: My Favorite Performances

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AI 20

It’s here. It’s now. It’s the grand finale of American Idol. The hit TV show’s 17th season – or Season 2 on ABC Network – is about to hit the final note tonight with one of the Top 3 that include the incredibly talented singer-songwriter Alejandro Aranda, Season 1 comeback king Laine Hardy, and powerhouse voiced Madison Vandenburg being crowned the new winner.

Expect the return of our finest group of Top 10 finalists – Wade Cota, Laci Kaye Booth, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Walker Burroughs, Alyssa Raghu, Dimitrius Graham and last but certainly not least Uche – and special guests that include famous Idol alum Adam Lambert who was also invited to mentor during Queen Night, Weezer, Dan + Shay and Idol‘s trio of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. Note to Idol producers: WHY did you deny Season 1 champion Maddie Poppe a slot at the finale especially since she has a wonderful debut album Whirlwind that is charting high on iTunes!? Don’t you want to support your winners!?

Here I present you my Season 2 highlights in the form of my favorite Top 10 and Top 20 performances and brief notes on Season 2 itself.

TOP 3

Having Alejandro, Laine and Madison as the last three contestants standing is actually an inspired choice by America. If we look at the bigger picture, each win would give the show credibility. Alejandro and Laine are not only bringing the best of their musicality and natural charm onstage but also diversity, and either one of them winning would change the game in the American Idol universe. Laine has been a personal favorite of mine from last year besides Michael J. Woodard, Catie Turner and Garrett Jacobs (who got in over Laine back in the Top 24 announcement), so his transformation was truly impressive to see. Alejandro’s originals are testament to his massive talent and artistry. From “Out Loud” to “Cholo Love” and “Blesser”, he’s making music that his idol Bach would’ve been very proud to see, and America and the world are embracing him. Madison may only be 17 but she does have a stunning voice that’s suitable for today’s pop industry. Here are my favorite performances from the Top 3.

TOP 10

Laci Kaye Booth ~ This stunning lady always has a voice like crispy waffles. Delightfully raspy and all about the story in every lyric she conveys. So underrated! A modern Stevie Nicks. “Dreams” was one of my many Laci favorites. Ethereal, divine and out-of-this-world lovely.

Wade Cota ~ Wade has a very special voice and story. A unique performer, he always sings with so much sincerity. That signature rasp is one only he can pull off. He also shows a lot of support and appreciation for his fellow idols, and that shows how great he is as a person. Twas a pleasure seeing his transformation from his audition all the way to “Rocket Man” and his other Top 5 performances.

Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon ~ Divine and timeless voice! We’re all very lucky to have him on the show. A truly dedicated artist who always tells a story with every song, be it a cover or his own original “Almost Heaven”. One of the biggest robberies in the history of the show, but he is bound to be a success story. Even Sir Elton John has showered him with praises. He has a jazz EP on iTunes that I recommend. It showcases his versatility.

Walker Burroughs ~ Charming guy with a charming voice that’s reminiscent of the golden years of Idol, where males with velvety voices reigned. Idol viewers seem to have a problem with talented gingers, because eliminating Walker and Jeremiah within the span of a week was a big mistake. Need your Walker fix? I recommend his luminous original “The Moon Song”. Simply magical!

Alyssa Raghu ~ Like Laine, Alyssa has always been a fan fave dating back to Season 1, which made her return very inspiring. She did display a more intriguing side of her this year and really fought for her place on the show. The ultimate comeback queen and such a pop star!

Uche ~ Electric, exciting and enjoyable to watch. Mr. Uche’s performances pack a lot of punch. Bonus point: he really knows how to rock the stage. Him not making it to Queen Week was a travesty but he will prove America wrong, because he’s the entertainer the music industry needs.

Dimitrius Graham ~ He should always be in our hearts, ’cause he always puts his heart and soul in every performance. Plus Dimitrius is such a star name. The only way for him is up. Meechi gang forever! Look out for his duet with Adam Lambert at tonight’s finale.

MORE IDOLS

Evelyn Cormier ~ She’s got the voice of a goddess. Haunting, magical and ethereal. With a mix of Cher, Florence Welch and Alison Sudol, Evelyn truly has a divine and timeless sound. Personally, she’s my favorite female voice from this season. What a kind, divine personality too. She always finds a way to keep in touch with her supporters and treats them like friends, which is a wonderful bonus. I invite you to give her Ghost EP and other originals a listen.

Shawn Robinson ~ There’s something super special about Shawn’s voice. His acoustic version of “Who You Are” from the audition rounds was lovely, and his other performances like “Don’t You Worry About a Thing” and “Jealous” showed how versatile he can be. Had he been given the chance to advance to the Top 14, his growth arc would’ve been compelling to see. Still, he’s such a pop star, and I’m so ready for a Shawn record.

Ashley Hess ~ I’m sure we were all charmed by Ashley’s Idol debut: her Norah Jones cover that she sang in her audition – “Don’t Know Why”. Her voice is like syrup and honey, and there’s a singer-songwriter quality to her like Sara Bareilles. Honestly, she should’ve made it way farther than the Top 14. Like Sara, she will do big things in music. I would want a Sara x Ashley collab.

Ryan Hammond ~ One of the best male vocals out there. Ryan’s powerhouse voice sets him apart, and he always sings from his heart. Inspiring story as well. You can tell he’s got a big love of music, and his passion shows in every performance. I would want him (and Shawn) to be the comeback kings in the next Idol season, but no matter what, his talent is undeniable.

Kate Barnette ~ So refreshing, unique and relaxing. Kate is an original and deserves more appreciation. Her tone is delightful and gives you that blissful feeling. You can download her EP on iTunes and enjoy her original tunes.

Margie Mays ~ Miss Margie is mesmerizing. Her lively audition and her quirky personality have made her an instant fave. That talent got her into the elite Top 40, though her journey was short-lived when she did not make the Top 20, Margie is so unforgettable that it’s not a question why she gets an invite to tonight’s finale. Be sure to look out for her appearance.

NOTES

* My overall favorites: Jeremiah, Laine, Walker, Shawn, Alejandro, Uche, Wade, Dimitrius, Ryan, Evelyn, Laci, Ashley and Kate

* This season had one of the best Top 20 in American Idol history and is still one for the books. It all became a mess when America started to vote, but at the end, it still gave us a solid Final 3.

* No tour for this season, which is disappointing, especially considering most of the finalists are fan faves. Plus they can capitalize on Alejandro’s massive fanbase with him being the only contestant with tons of followers, more than anyone in the last five to six seasons.

* Like last year and the final FOX season, a rushed format with double eliminations per week didn’t give audiences enough time to get to know contestants. Hopefully with the budget they are saving for next year, we’ll be able to get longer live shows with single eliminations and proper farewell packages for all finalists.

Haley Reinhart’s New Album “Lo-Fi Soul” is Delicious Like Dark Chocolate

Smokey blue cover art, vintage vibe, all-new Haley Reinhart tunes. Welcome to the world of Lo-Fi Soul, where you’ll be entering a cinematic realm full of dreamy soulful tracks and dark, dangerous, delicious bangers that are fitting for soundtracks to mystery and noir films. After Listen Up!, Better and What’s That Sound?, this Platinum recording artist and songstress has returned with another solid record that’s packed with a lot of soul and unforgettable tracks.

Every Lo-Fi Soul track is finely brewed to create a blend of snapshots into Ms. Reinhart’s life and musical soul. “Deep Water” is a charming, hit-worthy opener that gets you in deep, deep water and makes you go “Oh my God”, and it’s followed by the dreamy, velvety “Oh Damn” that has quickly become a personal favorite of mine like the first one. We’ve all loved “Don’t Know How to Love You”, and now we get to savor the bossa nova-like “Strange World” that’s reminiscent of “Last Kiss Goodbye”, the darkly seductive “Shook” that could easily be a Bond theme, the Beatles-esque, inspiring “Lay It Down”, the electric “Broken Record” and also “How Dare You” and “Crack the Code” with their cool bluesy tone. “Baby Doll” is aesthetic in itself, “Some Way Some How” is simply stunning and “Lo Fi Soul” greatly closes the album.

Overall, Haley creates a dazzling, hypnotic, addictive universe with the release of Lo-Fi Soul, and she makes us want to keep coming back to it. It’s a delicious record… like dark chocolate. A must-have for Haliens and ALL music lovers, really!

 

17 “American Idol” Performances I Keep Coming Back To: Celebrating 17 Seasons of the Hit TV Show

17 is magic when it comes to American Idol.

For 16 seasons, this music competition show has provided a platform for aspiring singers from all over America – and the world – to build fanbases and launch their careers in entertainment. From the original idol Kelly Clarkson and chart-topping favorites like Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, Tori Kelly, David Cook and David Archuleta to game-changers that charm you with their uniqueness like Haley Reinhart, Michael J. Woodard and Catie Turner, plenty of American Idol alumni have been able to find steady work in the world of showbiz and media.

After its 15-season run on FOX that was full of highs and some lows, ABC has taken over and successfully revamped the show into one that is refreshing and new. Fresh after Maddie Poppe’s win last year, Season 17 has officially started last Sunday featuring brand new talents in pursuit of their dreams. To celebrate 17 seasons of American Idol, here’s a list of 17 unforgettable performances by my top favorite idols.

“Bennie and the Jets” ~ Haley Reinhart
One of Idol‘s very best, Haley has gone a long way from her “Oh Darling” audition to preparing for her 4th studio album Lo-Fi Soul (after Listen Up, Better and What’s That Sound) and going platinum with her divine rendition of the Elvis Presley hit “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. She also performs with the Postmodern Jukebox and voices Bill in the Netflix series F is for Family. “Bennie and the Jets” was the Idol performance that gained her a massive fanbase. And it still remains a CLASSIC.

“Golden Slumbers” ~ Michael J. Woodard
Michael has a super versatile voice, charisma and a bigger-than-life personality that makes him another Idol great, one deserving of millions of records. He’s able to turn every song into gold and put his own original spin on it. The ability to go from a high-energy range to a soft, pure, gentle tone makes all his performances wonderful treats. One of his captivating moments was his uplifting rendition of the Beatles classic “Golden Slumbers”. You just can’t help but adore him and his sincerity.

“Music of the Night” ~ David Cook
You can always count on Mr. Cook to transform a tune that you’ve heard tons of times into something new and radio-worthy. One of Idol‘s most daring contestants (and my favorite winner ever), David’s amazing rock vocal and songwriting prowess always add depth to his music, from the originals on his album (with This Loud Morning being my top favorite) to the covers he did on Idol and occasionally perform at his own concerts. His version of the “Phantom of the Opera” classic “Music of the Night” was one of the performances that solidified him as a contender and is still worth a listen.

“You’re So Vain” ~ Brooke White
Brooke changed my life and was the very first person to inspire me to pursue music and songwriting. Everything I do that is music-related, I owe it all to her. What a wonderful singer-songwriter and a lovely soul. Season 7 was the first time I watched Idol from beginning to end, and Brooke has always added sunshine to my days with her Carole King and Carly Simon vibe, unique tone and California cool. Up until now, I would still play her “You’re So Vain” on repeat.

“Shop Around” ~ David Archuleta
He may have been seventeen during his time on Idol, but David Archie has always had it in the bag to deliver groundbreaking, heartwarming performances week after week. A total pro from Day 1! Whether singing behind the piano or with a plain mic, his voice is pure magic. “Shop Around” was a super fun David Archie performance and showcased his youthful side. Always great to look back on!

“Crazy on You” ~ Carly Smithson
With a haunting Evanescence-like tone that’s out-of-this-world and an Irish charm that casts a spell on viewers, Carly can easily switch from a high-energy performance to one that is quiet but commanding. Her rock band’s record We Are the Fallen and bubblegum pop solo debut album from back in her younger years are still captivating with their contrasting genres. One of my top fave Carly performances from Idol was Heart’s energetic hit “Crazy on You”. Crazy good!!!

“One Rock and Roll Too Many” ~ Syesha Mercado
Syesha is electric! One of the more underrated Idol performers. With the ability to nail both pop and Broadway, Syesha’s star has always meant to shine bright, and Idol was the right platform for her to showcase her talent and sassy, fun persona.

“Rebel Yell” ~ Dalton Rapattoni
Dalton made the final FOX season of Idol worth watching with his creativity in arranging songs. A former member of IM5 and indie band Fly Away Hero, he has always been humble and grounded, focusing purely on his talent and storytelling abilities with every performance. Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” is a Dalton cover I keep coming back to. It was very well-arranged and showcased his unique rock vocal.

“Paint It Black” ~ Siobhan Magnus
What was going to be a dull 9th season after Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta rocked Season 8 turned out to be the opposite thanks to Siobhan, whose magnetic tone and haunting presence glued the audience to the show. With a killer voice, she made “Paint It Black” one of the best performances ever in Idol history.

“Don’t You Forget About Me” ~ Michael Johns
Gone too soon, the late Michael Johns was able to pair his raspy yet soulful voice and rocker persona with his natural Aussie charm to create music that mattered. His record Heart on My Sleeve is forever a gem that reminds us that beautiful music still exists. From “Across the Universe” and “Dream On” to “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay”, all his Idol performances are worth playing on repeat. “Don’t You Forget About Me” is still one of his best in my book.

“Once Upon a Dream” ~ Catie Turner
Quirky and bubbly, Catie has proven she was more than just another Idol contestant but a singer-songwriter who can write powerful feminist anthems like 21st Century Machine that became her audition song. A fan favorite like Michael J. Woodard in ABC’s first Idol season, she excels in impactful acoustic-based songs. One of her most magical performances was her grand rendition of “Once Upon a Dream” during Disney Night.

“A House is Not a Home” ~ Tamyra Gray
Tamyra’s stunning velvety voice, remarkable beauty and likable, outgoing personality made her a shining star in the first ever Idol show on FOX, proving that she was just as wonderful as Kelly and deserved way better as far as the music industry goes. Her record The Dreamer was full of empowering hits. “A House is Not a Home” will forever be a timeless Tamyra tune from her Idol run.

“I’ll Stand By You” ~ Pia Toscano
With a soaring grand voice, Pia can make every song sparkle like diamonds. Her unjustly elimination was so bittersweet it was the first that made me tear up for nights. The message behind her every song is pure and raw. “This Time” deserves better, and the ethereal “You’ll Be King” is bound to be a Pia classic. Out of all her Idol performances, “I’ll Stand By You” still makes a big impact on me.

“Ain’t No Sunshine” ~ Kris Allen
Just like Adam Lambert who reigned supreme in the electric Season 8, Kris has always brought the magic to the Idol stage with his immense creativity and masterful approach towards every song to make them sound distinctive and new. It all won him the crown in a group full of big-voiced contestants. A superb singer-songwriter, Kris came out of nowhere and made America fall in love with him starting with his gorgeous cover of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” all the way to the finale.

“Vienna” ~ Elise Testone
As a fan of raspy-sounding females, Elise quickly became an instant favorite of mine during Season 11. She’s a master at tackling bluesy, soulful tunes, including Adele’s “One and Only”. “Vienna” remains one of my best-loved Elise covers. Very underrated and deserves more accolades.

“Because the Night” ~ Nick Fradiani
Idol isn’t just about big voices. It can be about having a cool sound and creative way of songwriting. Nick has one of those throwback voices that can easily cross over from pop-rock to the more retro genre. His arrangement of radio hits like “Teenage Dream” displayed his strength as a singer-songwriter who can easily twist songs. “Because the Night” was one of his top Idol highlights.

“I’m Not the Only One” ~ Rayvon Owen
Rayvon will forever be the king of Idol Saves, having survived Bottom 2 week after week in the lives thanks to a social media fan save option that Season 14 was known for. On a more positive note, it made his Idol journey more endearing with every fight resulting in beautiful performances, one of them being “I’m Not the Only One”, making him one of the best male pop singers the show has ever cast.

 

Non-Cheesy Valentine’s Day Songs That Are Jazzy on the Ears

Cupid has brought Valentine’s Day back to Earth, and you’d want to celebrate February 14 with your loved ones over pancakes and waffles. Whether you’ll be spending it the classic way with your romantic partner or with family members, relatives, and friends (go ahead and call it “Galentine” if you’re a female who’s prepping up for a little get-together with your girl best friends like me and my besties), the right music is bound to add extra flair to your Valentine’s Day.

Looking for good old love songs that are on the jazzy side and not overly sappy, cheesy and sentimental? Add these titles to your playlist, and you’re bound to have a whimsical February 14. All these tunes are best served with chocolates, puddings and a mug of cappuccino, of course.

“It Had To Be You” ~ Harry Connick Jr.
From the iconic Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal rom-com When Harry Met Sally.

“My Baby Just Cares For Me” ~ Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra feat. Haley Reinhart
Hollywood star Jeff Goldblum tapped into his musical side by making a jazz record with the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra featuring a number of jazz standards. Platinum recording artist and songwriter Haley Reinhart joined him in his version of “My Baby Just Cares For Me”, which became the very first single he promoted from the album.

“S’wonderful” ~ Tony Bennett and Diana Krall
Watch what happens when two jazz greats collaborate on a jazz record. “S’wonderful” is the first track from Tony Bennett and Diana Krall’s newest release Love Is Here To Stay. The whole album would make a delightful Valentine’s Day listen.

“Cheek to Cheek” ~ Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Once you’re done playing the Fred and Ginger version, swing with Ella and Louis as they show your their take on this cheeky tune.

“Taking a Chance on Love” ~ Renee Olstead
Renee has a special jazz voice, and this lovely song from her self-titled debut album makes a lovely companion for your Valentine’s Day brunch.

“A Lovely Night” ~ Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
Yes, I know it’s every bit of an anti-love song, but its playful, jazzy flair still makes it perfect for an evening out with your crush, your friends, or better yet, your anti-love. You might even attempt the Sebastian and Mia tap dance the La La Land number is famous for.

“Fly Me To the Moon” ~ Frank Sinatra/Julie London
No matter how many times (and ways) this has been played, “Fly Me To the Moon” will always take you on a grand trip to the moon. Here are two unforgettable versions of the jazz standard by Mr. Sinatra and Ms. London.

“La Vie En Rose” ~ Michael Buble feat. Cecile McLorin Salvant
Michael Buble’s rendition of this Edith Piaf classic is as charming, elegant and refreshing as ever.

“De Lovely” ~ Robbie Williams
It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de lovely! Cole Porter originally wrote this song, and Robbie Williams sang the 21st century version in De Lovely, a biopic of Mr. Porter with Kevin Kline portraying him.

Photo Credits: Lionsgate

“Sleigh Ride” Postmodern Jukebox Style

Fresh off their Christmas special on YouTube, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox presents a brand new jazz version of “Sleigh Ride” starring Demi Remick. She’s cheery, delightful, whimsical, playful, and a superbly entertaining tap dancer. You could literally watch her for hours. Plus Scott’s piano playing is always grand.

If you’re looking for a little extra holiday cheer, this lovely video makes a joyous watch, and the song itself is worth adding to your Christmas playlist on iTunes.

Come on, it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with PMJ!

“Don’t Know How To Love You” by Haley Reinhart is a Retro Wonderland of a Tune

Haley Reinhart is a soul goddess. In the midnight hour of a Thursday, this iconic songstress drops a brand new original tune called “Don’t Know How To Love You” that makes a fine musical food for the mind, body and soul.

From the first listen, this song gives me that cool Duffy vibe reminiscent of her songs like “Syrup and Honey”, “Warwick Avenue” and “Endlessly” from her two records Rockferry and Endlessly, but it still remains distinctive and authentically Haley. The beautiful lyrics, soulful vibe, vintage sound and Haley’s divine voice all mix together to make this a retro wonderland of a tune.

It’s Classic Haley in the making! Purchase “Don’t Know How To Love You” on iTunes and watch the music video now (brilliantly directed by Joshua Shultz with vision and art direction by Haley herself):

 

“Revamp”: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin

Sir Elton John is an iconic music creator who has penned a great number of hits such as “Bennie and the Jets”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, and “Your Song”. Plenty of artists have covered his tunes, from household names to Youtube stars and reality show contestants. In the newly released Revamp album by Virgin EMI Records, thirteen Elton songs get a modern update with brand new interpretations by today’s top artists and bands like Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Alessia Cara, The Killers, Ed Sheeran, Florence + the Machine, Demi Lovato and Coldplay.

What you can expect from Revamp is its current sound – very 2018 but still listenable, nostalgic and recorded with respect to Elton’s greatness. In its entirety, the record would be a wonderful, acceptable introduction to his songbook for today’s younger generation.

1) “Bennie and the Jets” – Elton John/Pink/Logic
An interesting collaboration that results in an urban pop cover. I would’ve suggested a bonus track with a “Bennie” that features Haley Reinhart who shot to stardom with her jazzy version on Season 10 of American Idol. But this one makes an exciting intro.

2) “We All Fall in Love Sometimes” – Coldplay
Very nuanced and atmospheric. It delivers the album’s very first musical moment. Coldplay is always a pro at making any cover worth your money.

3) “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” – Alessia Cara
This is one Elton tune that’s perfect for Alessia’s voice and style. It happens to be one of my top favorites.

4) “Candle in the Wind” (2018 Version) – Ed Sheeran
Mr. Sheeran was born to sing this dedication and farewell to Lady Diana. A very genuine interpretation.

5) “Tiny Dancer” – Florence + the Machine
Absolutely dreamy and inspiring. My top favorite track within the record. It’s as magnetic as Sir Elton’s original version.

6) “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” – Mumford & Sons
Folky and authentic, Mumford & Sons knew how to give this song their own twist.

7) “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” – Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige has been successful in giving “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” a new sound. It’s as fresh as ever.

8) “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” – Q-Tip feat. Demi Lovato
A marvelous duet that keeps me coming back for more. It feels like a brand new tune with the reggae influence in the intro and verses, but then the chorus takes us back to that nostalgic moment, which makes it so great.

9) “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” – The Killers
Easily one of my favorites after “Tiny Dancer”.

10) “Daniel” – Sam Smith
It’s a song fitting for Sam Smith and his soulful, velvety vocal.

11) “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” – Miley Cyrus
Miley truly delivers in this powerful Elton classic. Very sincere, very authentic.

12) “Your Song” – Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is a master at interpreting iconic songs, and her take on “Your Song” is truly a gift that we can all cherish, just like the original. Simply timeless.

13) “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” – Queens of the Stone Age
The best song to wrap up the album. Very solid version.

On repeat: “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters”, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”, “Your Song”, “Candle in the Wind”, “We All Fall in Love Sometimes”.

Click here to purchase Revamp on Amazon.

American Idol Season 1 (ABC)

ABC has brought back American Idol two years after its cancellation on FOX. The phenomenon that preceded other TV singing competitions is all-new and improved with fresh talents and a positive vibe. Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan – this first season’s trio of judges – not only have great dynamics, but also a strong, genuine interest in what each contestant bring. They pay close attention to all the singing and are very encouraging.

Given the super rushed schedule, tonight’s episode will wrap up the auditions segment, preparing the audiences for the Hollywood rounds tomorrow. To refresh, let’s take a look at some of the unforgettable auditions we have seen ever since the show’s March 11 premiere. Feel free to share your favorites too!

Does Idol deserve to stay another season? With such a positive direction, this competition serves as a reminder on the power of dreams, and dreams are always needed despite today’s grim political situations. So the answer would be yes. If you haven’t been tuning in, I encourage you to do so, and get ready to be inspired all over again. Spectacular talents and future stars await you.

LAINE HARDY

A high schooler with a cool, raspy voice and a bluesy rock sound? Laine’s got it. You can immediately spot that recording quality in his vocals. It’s only right that he’s topping the polls on various Idol forums and sites.

BRANDON DIAZ

This Berklee guy is definitely one of my top male voices. Very soulful. Turns out he was on The X Factor and that I’ve seen a few of his Youtube videos once like “Say Something”. I’m very interested in keeping up with his career on Idol and beyond.

GARRETT JACOBS

Another one of my favorite. Such a unique tone and so much potential. Great singer-songwriter vibe. While blues is very fitting for him, I can see him doing well covering modern male artists like Shawn Mendes and James Morrison.

MARCIO DONALDSON

Super inspiring. Powerful story and a voice that’s tender and compelling, Marcio is one to look for. There’s an honesty in the way he sings, and if he keeps it up in Hollywood, he could easily soar into the finals.

CATIE TURNER

This girl is truly an original. With an adorably quirky persona and her self-penned songs like 21st Century Machine, she’s definitely starting a revolution, and we’re all here for a lot of Catie records. She could be the one! #hashtagcatie

MADDIE POPPE

Whimsical with a relaxing tone, she’s got magic in her voice that’s reminiscent of Sara Bareilles. The ultimate female singer-songwriter in this competition, she will bring a lot of freshness to the stage.

AMELIA HAMMER HARRIS

Very retro! With a lot of funk and energy in her voice and a NYLON-inspired fashion, Amelia delivers a lot of excitement and is bound to shake up the competition. It also helps that she’s the daughter of a music icon Jack Hammer.

MARA JUSTINE

Very impressive! Haven’t seen her on America’s Got Talent but she seems ready now with her massive voice. Her expression and enthusiasm really show, and she’d make a commercial recording artist.

LAYLA SPRING

She has a delightful sound. Bringing her little sister Dixie along, there’s an immediate warmth in her that draws you in. While she could benefit with more experiences, she’s got potential. The voice is definitely there, and so is her charm.

 

CALEB HUTCHINSON

 

He comes across as unique for a country artist. It looks like he also has a magnetic personality. His sincerity and love for country music definitely shows when he performs.

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